Sunday, August 31, 2008

Wolverine #68 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Steve McNiven
Inker: Dexter Vines
Colorist: Morry Hollowell

Issue Rating
Story: 9/10
Art: 9.5/10
Overall: 9.25/10

Issue Summary
After some convincing Logan agrees to help Hawkeye save his daughter, but Logan says he will only read the map and not fight. While Logan and Hawkeye drive through Utah the new Kingpin, who killed Magneto and took his territory, executes Daredevil and Punishers grow-up kids in front of a packed Rice-Ecceles Stadium in Salt Lake City.

As Logan and Hawkeye arrive in to Salt Lake City the Kingpin's men are preparing to execute Ashley, aka Spider-Girl aka Hawkeye's daughter. But before they execute her Hawkeye drives the Spider-Mobile through the building and proceeds to kill Kingpin's men and free's his daughter from her cell. The Kingpin then bust in wanting to know what the hell is going on to get his head knocked of by Ashley using a gun as a bat.

Right as Hawkeye is about to hug his daughter Ashley clocks him in the head with the crowbar and proclaiming herself the new Kingpin. Ashley decideds that her first act as Kingpin will be to kill her father in front of her new followers. As Ashley prepares to kill her father Logan is behind the wheel of the Spider-Mobile cursing Hawkeye for making him do something he does not want to do. End of issue.

Highlights of the Issue

"Daredevil and Punisher's kids learn the hard way not to mess with the new Kingpin"

"Hawkeye has never kicked more ass"

"There is no messing with this Spider-Girl"
Wolverine #68 was another kick ass issue by Millar and McNiven. For any that is upset over the shallow and simple blockbuster feel from Secret Invasion or the heavy in continuity and is not new reader friendly Final Crisis than "Old Man Logan" is definetly the story you should be reading. It could be said that like what Geoff Johns did in "Sinestro Corp Wars" Millar is not only able to make "Old Man Logan" a new reader friendly and has enough intricate plotline that keeps the reader interested in the whole story. While it would be an overstament to say this story is as big and universe changing as "Sinestro Corp Wars," which was a huge monster hit with both DC and Marvel fans and suprised DC big the story got, Millar's "Old Man Logan" may actually be sleeper pick for being the best story of the year.

One of the biggest complaints against Wolverine is that ever since Marvel decided to shove the character down our throats by placing him on two or more of the X-Men team books at the same time, New Avengers, two Wolverine titles, and various mini-series as well as getting his memory back that the character has lost that edge that made Wolverine such a popular character. Also I don't know if I am the only one but I have gotten tired of hearing the same "I'm the best at what I do" line that writters love to make Wolverine say all the time he appears in a comic now. I much rather see the badass Wolverine that doesn't give a crap that read as kid with the back in the first series of this comic that I was able to get in back issues.

With this story it feels like that edge that Wolverine lost Millar has returned it to the character. No the Wolverine, or Logan as he wants to be called, in this story is not the kick ass, ask question second type character people like but more of the wandering samuri that has not raised his sword for a long time. I am greatly enjoying Millar's take on an old and batered Wolverine that has no intetions of poping his claws or even making a fist for any reason. And in this post-apocalytic setting it only seems fitting that Logan would adopt that attitude after seeing all his friends and teamates and himself being beaten.

I like that in Wolverine #68 Millar gives a suitle and not so suitle hints to what might be the return of Wolverine. From when HERBIE gives Logan The X-Men key chain for luck to the final page with Logan behind the wheel of the Spider-Mobile preparing to save Hawkeye's life it seems that next issue will finally see Logan become Wolverine again. Even though that looks to be the case I wouldn't be suprised if all Logan does is get Hawkeye back into the Spider-Mobile and drives off leading to a chase scene involving them and Ashley the self proclaimed new, new Kingpin and her men.

I continue to love this old man Hawkeye. I have never really been to interested in the character in the first place but Millar has totally made me become a fan of the character. I love how Hawkeye contrast the pacifist Logan with all the kick ass fighting he does even though he is blind. Hopefully Bendis and other writers take a couple of Millar's ideas in how they should write Hawkeye from this story. I just really hope Millar doesn't go and kill Hawkeye in the next issue by his daughter's hands.

And speaking of the new Kingpin I actually like the new Kingpin, at least for the short time he was alive, and how he came to power from being a nothing street thug to ending up killing Magneto and taking his territory. I like this new Kingpin's style and how he killed both Daredevil and Punisher's kids in front of a packed area with some dinosaurs like what use to bee done in the old Romen Colosseum to the gladiators. The only thing against this story is that if your a person that does not like seeing so much bloodshed than this isn't a story you should be reading since there is a lot of it splashed around the whole issue

Also I love it seemed Millar was about to give Hawkeye a nice family reunion with his daughter after she killed the Kingpin, to only have her become the new Kingpin and about to kill Hawkeye. That is exactly how to throw a curveball in a story to the reader and even though this story has its predictability to it, like any other story, it is these kind of things that get me excited to read what is going to happen next.

The one thing hope to see or read in the next issue is to find out about what exatly happend 50 years ago to cause the villains to beat and kill the heroes. In this issue we find out that it was Magneto, Doctor Doom, and the president who gathered the villains together and were the leaders of the war. And hopefully we start to get some clues of who it is that is the president of this new world.

McNiven and Vines art work on this story definetly is bringing Millar's story to life. McNiven continues to show me why he is one of my favorite artist in the business and no one does the close up shot of characters facial expressions better than McNiven.

So for anyone that has stopped reading Wolverine for some reason I urge you to give Millar and McNiven "Old Man Logan" story a try even if your like me and dropping this title after this story ends and Millar is off the title.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Ultimate Spider-Man #125 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

Issue Rating
Story: 7.8/10
Art: 7.5/10
Overall: 7.65/10

Issue Development
Eddie Brock wakes up in a prison cell like containment field in Trask Enterprise. Eddie sees the President and CEO of Trask Enterprise Bolivar Trask who is the person that hired Silver Sable and her crew to capture Eddie and the Venom symbiote. Trask says that he captured him so that he with from Doctor Adian Toomes they can seperate Eddie and the symbiote to make billions of dollars.

The scene shifts to Empire State Museum of Art were Spider-Man explains to the cops what happend ealier in the museum with Venom and Silver Sable. After talking to the cops Peter is back in his basement having a "date" with Mary Jane to study his blood. It seems that Peter still has some of the Venom symbiote in his system. Peter ends his "date" with Mary Jane and goes back out as Spider-Man to find Eddie.

Back at Trask Laboratories Toomes is beginning procedures to seperate Eddie and the symbiote when the Beetle breaks into the lab and sets Eddie free. Once he is set free Eddie starts going crazry and attacks everyone in the lab and actually eats one of the lab assistants as Venom. Venom than escapes the lab and starts a huge brawl in the city with the Beetle.

As Venom and Beetle fight Spider-Man sees all the comotion and tries to stop the fight and wanting to talk to Eddie. After a small fight between Spider-Man and Venom the symbiote decides to leave Eddie's body and take over Spider-Man once again. the symbiote completely takes over Spider-Mans body and we see Peter screaming as the issue ends.

Highlights of the Issue

"Venom is so hungry he can eat a horse"

"It's good to be home"


Overall Ultimate Spider-Man #125 was another enjoyable issue by Bendis. But at the same time there wasn't really anything special about this issue and that is because the issue went by so fast with the Spider-Man/Venom/Beetle fight taking up a good part of this issue. That is not to say it's a bad thing but Ultimate Spider-Man has always been at its best when the focus is not on Spider-Man but on Peter Parker and his life outside the mask.

As a kid Venom was probably one of my favorite Spider-Man villains. I just thought Venom was one of the coolest villains but now Venom has become one of my least favorite Spider-Man villains. One of the reasons for this is because the whole novelty of an evil version Spider-Man, which is what Venom basically is, has been gone for long time now. Also the other reason I don't like Venom anymore is because there really hasn't been any good storylines involving Venom or the other symbiote characters since the first few stories were Venom originally appeared.

In saying all that I have to say that the Ultimate version of Venom and of Eddie Brock is a much more interesting character than his 616-counterpart. I like that Peter and Eddie have a much deeper connection to one another with being childhood friends and their parents being the creators of the symbiote. It actually makes it a lot easier to draw parrallels between both Peter and Eddie lives to how they each reflect what the other would have been if they swapped places.

I also like that Trask Enterprise is involved with the symbiote as well and it is starting to look like Trask has a much greater involvement in the Ultimate Universe. Because not only do they have the rights to the Venom symbiote that they took from Peter and Eddie's parents, the company has also been involved with Doc Ock, Sandman, Vulture, Osborn, and Silver Sable. So it will be interesting to see if SHIELD gets involved with the company or if Trask will be involved with the Ultimatum story in one way or another.

Now while I did enjoy the brawl in the story and am interested about the Ultimate Beetle and who he works for I wish Bendis would show more of Peter's supporting characters other than just Mary Jane and Kitty, and only MJ is in this issue. The great thing about Ultimate Spider-Man, and Spider-Man in general, has always been Peter Parker and his supporting characters like Aunt May, Mary Jane, Kitty, Flash, Kong, Liz, and The Daily Bugle staff are involved in the story. But when the supporting cast is reduced to only MJ and Kitty the stories have tended to be boring since the focus is on Spider-Man and not Peter Parker. Hopefully after, or even during, this story arc Bendis uses more of Peter's supporting cast then he has been in these past few issues.

On the art side I have to say that Stuart Immonen art is actually getting better and it seems he is getting better at Peter Parker and everyone that is not wearing a superhero mask. This was the best art Immonen has done since he has come on to this title. Now let just see if he can keep up the art on a more consistent bases before I start comparing his art to Bagley's.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

DC Universe: Last Will and Testament Review

Creative Team
Writer: Brad Meltzer
Artists: Adam Kubert, Joe Dell, Joe Kubert
Colorist: Alex Sinclair

Issue Rating
Story: 8/10
Art: 7.6/10
Overall: 7.8/10

Issue Summary
The issue starts with Brion Markov better known as Geo-Force making preperations to fight Deathstroke in revenge for corrupting his sister Terra. He ask his firend and teamate Jefferson Pierce, aka Black Lightning, if he will help him get revenge on Deathstroke by hitting him were it hurts his family, Jerico and Rose Wilson. Even though Black Lightning would like nothing more but take out Deathstroke he cannot help Geo-Force kill Deathstroke by using his kids.

Elsewhere, various DC superheroes are making their final "goodbyes" before the final battle. In Valhalla Diana Prince and Donna Troy bury some items they swear to come back for, Diana some gold coins and Donna her wedding ring.Over at Gotham City Memorial Starfire is wating for Dick Grayson, Nightwing, to show up at his parents, John and Mary Grayson, graves but Dick does not show up.

In Gotham City 40 stories above the city Bruce Wayne and Tim Drake as Batman and Robin prepare to take one final leap before the final battle. Before they leap of the roof Batman and Robin are joined by Nightwing. Batman ask Nightwing why he is not at his parents grave and Nightwing just says "I'm exactly where I want to be." Batman, Nightwing and Robin swing off the roof as a family.

Shifting to Challengers Mountain, Grace Choi is in a confessional to confess her sins to Rocky Davis. With some advice from Rocky, Grace leaves with the confidence everything will be alright. As Grace leaves Geo-Force goes into the confessional to get some advice on what he should do but Geo-Force does not like what he hears and leaves.

At Kent Farm Clark Kent, aka Superman, is talking to Pa Kent telling his pa that he doesn't know if they can win the battle that is to come. Pa Kent gives Clark some advice that lift up his spirit and Clark says he is ready to fight.

Over in Star City Roy is thaking Olly for building and teaching his daughter how to use a bow. And over in Central City Captain Cold stops a couple petty crooks from robbing a conviniece store on his way out of the store.

In a New York City alley Geo-Force finally tracks down Deathstroke, who was waiting for him, and they have a brutal battle. Even with his powers Geo-Force can't even touch and is beaten by Deathstroke who starts taunting Geo-Force as nothing but a C-list hero. Geo-Force is able to take one of the swords Deathstroke stab him with in the leg and starts to swing it wildly to try and cut Deathstroke. Geo-Force then takes the sword and slices his throat with it and Dezthstroke gets a flashback to when Jerico did the same thing. Deathstroke grabs Geo-Force before he hits the ground but doesn't realize Geo-Force still has his sword and is stabbed through the heart. Both men fall to the ground in a bloody mess.

Next we see Geo-Force waking up in bed were Black Lightning tells him that he beat Deathstroke.

We then shift to various scenes were Wally and Linda, Jim Gordon and Barbara Gordon, Wildcat and his son telling each other it will be alright, and Liberty Bell and Hourman having sex. Wally as the Flash than meets Green Lantern Hal Gordon and ask him if he really thinks everything will be alright. Hal just tells Wally "What're you talkin abou? This is the life Wally. I'll see you tomorrow." End of issue.

Highlights of the Issue

"Burying old memories"

"One Final Swing"

"There will be a tomorrow"


DC Universe: Last Will and Testament was a very good read. The thing about this issue is that the title should actually be changed to read "DC Universe: Last Will and Testament of Geo-Force." Some readers might be disappointed because the title really is misleading. Most people that pick up this issue are probably expecting to see all the DC Universe characters in their final moments before the last battle. And even though there are a few short scenes of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Greeen Lantern, Nightwing, Robin, Barbara Gordon, Donna Troy, and a few other minor DC characters appear, this is really a Geo-Force story masked as a DC Universe story. Geo-Force story alone takes a little more than half of the issue itself. Which is sad since if Meltzer decided to show more of what other DC Universe characters where doing in these final hours and less on Geo-Force this issue could have been a 9 or 9.5.

Personally I am not a big fan of Geo-Force and didn't even know or cared about this character before he appeared in Meltzer's Justice League run. Even then Geo-Force was never really interesting and thought that there were/are many other characters that are well deserving of having a spot in the Justice League than him. Also while I know that Meltzer really tried to get me to like his character in this issue I thought that the Geo-Force story made the whole issue feel a bit slow and started dragging a bit towards the end.

Also the motivation for Geo-Force revenge on Deathstroke really doesn't make much sense in the present DC Universe. I get that he is pissed off that Deathstroke was the reason Terra was evil and died but that was easily at least 6 or 7 years ago in DC Universe time and since then Terra has been resurected and killed again by Black Adam. It just makes Geo-Force a bit to pathetic of a character that it is now after so long that he decides to get revenge for his sister's first death. If anything I would have to think that Geo-Force would want revenge on Black Adam not Deathstroke since he not only lost his sister again but was actually there to witness it when it happend and did nothing to Black Adam at the time.

Even though I did not leave this issue caring more about Geo-Force than I already did, which wasn't much to begin with, I will give it to Meltzer for providing a badass fight between Geo-Force and Deathstroke. Deathstroke completely dominated the fight and only lost because of a momentary moment of weakness which lead to the fight to be a draw at best. Next to the Joker and Lex Luthor, Deathstroke is my favorite villain in the DC Universe and I love how in these past 5 years DC has made Deathstroke into one of the most dangerous villain not only to the Teen Titans but the whole DC Universe. As a Teen Titan fan and a huge fan of Wolfman and Perez run it was pretty cool to see that Meltzer refenced that run with the small flashback to when Deathstroke could not stop Jerico from slicing his neck and causing him to be mute. That is really Deathstroke biggest failure and awsome to see Meltzer reference that.

And speaking of the Teen Titans I really liked the scene with Starfire waiting for Nightwing at his parents grave. It shows that even though Starfire and Nightwing have not been together for a while and both have had many relationships with other people that Starfire is still in love with Nightwing. It also shows that while Starfire is still living in the past while Nightwing has moved on with his life even though he may still have feelings for Starfire he knows that relationship has long been over. I just hate that Winnick back in The Outsiders and in his current run on Titans he is trying to get Nightwing and Starfire back together. I get that Winnick and other writters are like me and many other fans who loved the Wolfman/Perez era but it is time to move on and both characters should just stay good friends and nothing more.

My favorite scene in this whole issue was the scene with Batman, Nightwing, and Robin. I just think it is awsome anytime these three characters are in a scene together. Most time writers will write Bruce as having his own adventures as Batman and doesn't like having people help him. They forget that for Bruce, Tim and Dick are the two people outside of Alfred he trust the most and are the two people he would actually spend time with outside of being Batman. Also seeing the three characters together just shows how close they have become and that even with all the crap they have been through they are still a family. Though I am not to sure what to think of Tim being jealous of Dick being "firstborn" since both Dick and Tim have always been portrayed as being even closer than Bruce and Tim are and haave never been jealous of one another. So I think that was a bit of an out of character moment for Tim.

My other favorite scene in this issue is the last scene with Hal and Wally. I just love that even in the face of death Hal believes they can still win and is not scared of death like many people are.

The scene between Diana and Donna was a nice touching moment between two sisters. The only thing I have to say is that I thought it was weird that Cassie, the current Wonder Girl, wasn't with them in the scene. But overall the short scene was nice and to the point of a final battle type situation there in.

Also while the scene between Clark and his dad was nice I thought it wasn't needed. The reason I say this is because over in Action Comics there was a scene just like this about a month or two ago and the scene just felt repetitive and not as good as the one Geoff Johns did in Action Comics.

Now the one question that is brought up with this issue since it is suppose to be a Final Crisis tie-in were this issue fits with Morrison's story. It could be that the issue takes place after the virus hits the internet and the one month gap at the end of Final Crisis #3 but that would not make sense for a number of reasons: 1) Batman was captured in issue 2 of the series; 2) Superman was taken away somewhere by a mysterous figure to help; 3) Green Lantern was taken into custody by the Alpha Lanterns and back to Oa; 4) Wonder Woman was captured before the virus hit the net in issue 3; and 5) Wally was travaling through the Speed Force with Barry ending up one month into the future so he wouldn't be present after the virus hit. But even with all these errors and a few others this was a very well written issue and if anyone wants to know when it takes place maybe it takes place before the big fight at the end of Final Crisis that is still to be told in the coming months.

Now the art for this issue was good but the problem I have with the art is that Adam Kubert didn't draw the whole issue. Both the action scenes and the quiet moments Kubert drew were great but I wouldn't have minded waiting for another week or two to give Kubert enough time to draw the whole issue. It's not saying that John Dell's art is bad but his art art just doesn't transition well with Kubert art and is the reason I did not give the art an 8.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Action Comics #868 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
Inker: Jon Sibal

Issue Rating
Story: 9/10
Art: 8/10
Overall: 8.5/10

Issue Summary
At the Daily Planet Supergirl ask some of the staff were Clark but Lois sees Supergirl and takes her to the roof to talk alone.

Out in space Superman is being experimented on by some robots in Braniac's space ship. But before they can slice Superman's head open Superman wakes up and destroys them and takes of all of the devices they put into him. Superman starts to explore the space ship and goes into a room with a buch of pods containing some aliens Braniac has captured and is experimenting on. After being attacked by and knocking out an alien named Koko, Superman goes into a room were he finds the city of Kandor.

As he is about grab the city Brainiac appears and comes out of his cocoon taller and more muscular than Superman. Braniac grabs and throws Superman against a wall were some cables grab him.

At Kent Farm Clark's parents are having a conversation about Clark when a storm starts coming at the farm.

Back in the space Braniac starts belittling Superman as an unimpresseive kryptonian. Superman breaks the cables and attacks Braniac, Braniac just shrugs it off and grabs Superman by the head telling him that he is going to go after Supergirl.

On the roof of the Daily Planet Supergirl and Lois are talking about were Clark is when Braniac's space ship appears over Metropolis to the fear of Supergril and all of Metropolis. End of issue.

Highlights of the Issue

"I think I am going to be sick"

"Barry Bonds called and he wants his steroids back"

Now I have never been a big Superman fan and it's been about 13 years since the last time I picked up a Superman comic when I was seven Geoff Johns really has me interested in what is going to happen in this story. I actually picked up this issue and the other two parts of the story after my friend, and after reading some reviews online, how good Johns run on Action Comics is. I am glad I stock his advice cause this was a truly enjoyable story.

The problem I have always had with Superman is that his powers make him so powerful none of the threats Superman faces are a real threat outside of Lex Luthor and I have never been able to relate to and sympathize for Superman or his Clark Kent persona. the other problem with Superman has always been that most writters are always trying to make Superman less powerful to fit there story and make the story more exciting.

The thing about this story that Johns is writting is that it is both complex and reader friendly. What I like about how Johns portrays Superman is that you are able to see through his expressions and dialog that Superman is missing something. And when Superman sees the city of Kandor you can see how happy Superman is to see that maybe he isn't the last of his people and that by finding Kandor maybe Krypton can be rebuilt. But it could be interesting to see how Superman may react to seeing his people especially after he actually has time to think what this will do to the connection he has made with his adoptive planet and who he would choose.

I also like the build up Johns has made for Brainiac so that when he actually appeared in this issue you could tell this isn't a Braniac that not even Superman may want to mess with. I actually like the fear that Supergirl shows to just hearing Brainiac's name and how worried she is about her cousin. Now even though I didn't like that Johns choose to make Brainiac have a humanoid form and look like a wrestler out of the WWE, Brainiac is still both physically and mentally imposing. And I loved that Brainiac didn't even flinch to any of Superman's punches and it makes you actually think that Superman may not be the same after this confrontation with Braniac both physically and mentally.

I got to say I love Gary Frank's art in this issue and how he draws Superman to look like Christopher Reeves is just awsome. Reeves Superman is the diffinitive Superman in my eyes and seeing his likeness being used is just awsome. Also this is probably the best looking Lois Lane that I have seen in comics in a long time. She really does look really hot.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Batman #679 Review

Creative Team

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Tony Daniel
Inker: Sandu Florea
Colorist: Guy Major
Issue Rating
Story: 7/10
Art: 9/10
Overall: 8/10

Issue Development
Continuing from last issue, Bruce as Batman of Zur-En-Arrh is looking for the location of Black Glove by beating up some criminals for information. As his insanity continues to grow Batman starts to talk to some gargoyels at the top of a building Bat-Mite talks into his ear. Batman then proceeds to take out some masked criminals at the roof of the building he was in.

Bruce takes of his costume and goes to the bathroom of an abandon theather to heal up. Bat-Mite tells Bruce that Batman of Zur-En-Arrh is a persona Bruce created when he participated in the space isolation experiment in case Doctor Hurt or someone else tried to use the experiment to control him.
Robin continues his search for Bruce while being chaced by a member of the Club of Villains. Robin is able to steal the member's motorcycle and calls Squire and Knight from the club of Heroes for some help.

Bruce back in his Batman of Zur-En-Arrh costume beats the snot out of and torture's a Joker wannabe calling himself King Krakken for some answers about the Black Glove.

At Wayne Manor Commissioner Gordon and a cop go into the manor to ask Bruce some questions. But as they walk through the manor the cop is killed by some arrows the Club of Villains set as a trap for Gordon.

In the Batcave Doctor Hurt in his mask and cape with the Club of Villain waiting for Gordon to come into the cave while bashing Alfred in the head with a wine bottle. Hurt then berates the two members that were following Robin and tells them to go find him so they can deliver Robin to the Joker as promised.

At Arkham one of Doctor Hax's collegues questions the doctor about the lobotomy he wants to give the new patient ("Pierrot Lunaire"). But before Hax answers some of his goons in gargoyle masks attack his collegue.

Elsewhere Jezebell Jet, Bruce's fiancee, is attacked by members of the Club of Villains.

The issue ends with Batman heading of to Arkham Asylum with The Joker waiting for him.

Highlights of the Issue

"A psychedelic Batman still can kick some ass"

"Why so serious?"


Batman #679 was a bit of a disappointing read. While I don't mind stories taking up a slow and measured pace as long as something interesting happens in the issue like what Brubaker is doing in Captain America. But Batman #679 just feels like Morrison is trying to stretch out story and feels like it would have been better if he combined this issue with the last one because this issue still feels like Morrison is still setting up the story.

I know that Morrison is trying to weave a very complex storyline together but like I said in the review for Final Crisis#3 Morrison seems to be lost in his head with all the ideas he wants to happen. At times in this issue the transition between the scenes are very awkward and short because Morrison does not know who to get all his ideas down to fill a single issue.

Also this issue does not reveal anything a reader that has been reading this story and most of Morrison's run already know: 1) Batman's crazy, 2) Robin is searching for Batman, 3) Club of Villains are celebrating in the Batcave and 4) Alfred is being held captive by the COV. I could have cared less for the quick scene with Jezebell Jet being captured since that scene should have been in the last issue and I just get the feeling that if she is not behind Black Glove somehow she is just playing the damsel-in-distressed role for the story.

Now even though no new information about what Black Glove and the COV are really after, this issue did still build up the interesting points of the story. One of the things I continue to love about this story is Bruce continued desent into insanity and it doesn't help Bruce that Bat-Mite has appeared and is playing the role of devil on the shoulder. When Bruce was talking to the gargoyle statues and saw the grind of the city it shows how mentally unstable Bruce as Batman of Zur-En-Arrh is. Bruce has always given of the presence of someone who is always in control of the situation he is in. But now that Bruce has turned into Batman of Zur-En-Arrh he has simultaneously abandoned both the Bruce Wayne and Batman personalities that have kept it in control.

I also got to give Morrison credit because it seems that he does have a plan for Dick Grayson/Nightwing or known as Pierrot Lunaire other than just being locked up in Arkham Asylum. Considering that Nightwing was not the only one that is suppose to be in Arkham and that Robin is suppose to be there to for the Joker to "play" with. It is starting to seem that the scene at the end of Batman #676 were Joker picture's killing, or at least driving crazy, Nightwing, Robin, and Alfred may have some truth behind it. Overall it does not look good for the original Boy Wonder with the lobotomy Dr. Hax wants to give him.

Also talking about Arkham I can't wait to see the confrontation between Batman of Zur-En-Arrh and The Joker in the next issue. I have to wonder how Joker will react to facing a psycho Batman. It also looks like Robin will probably be heading towards Arkham with the help of his friends from the Club of Heroes. So it should be interesting Robin's reaction will be when he finally finds Batman.

Tony Daniel's art really help make Morrison story be above average issue. I love Daniel's art and it fits with the dark story that Morrison is trying to tell. Also the new Batman costume is just awsome and shows just how insane Bruce has become.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ultimate Origins #3 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Butch Guice
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

Issue Rating
Story: 7.75/10
Art: 8/10
Overall: 7.9/10

Issue Development
In the present the Fantastic Four and Director Carol Davers continue to try and figure out what the alien technology that appeared in Project Pegasus, Wyoming that seems to be watching them. Reed Richards tells Carol they should leave and to tell her SHIELD agents to take the alien tech to be analyzed back at SHIELD headquarters. Elsewhere similar technoly appears at Tony Stark's Mansion, SHIELD Headquarters, Xavier Institute, Baxter Building, Hell's Kitchen, and Peter Parker's house.

27 years ago in the Weapon X facility in Alberta, Canada a young Erik Lanhsherr (the future Magneto) discovers his parents are part of the Weapon X, better known as Wolverine, experiment. He decides to release Weapon X and as Weapon X escapes his mother and some Canadian soldiers walk in to the laboratory. Erik's mother ask Erik what he is doing and instead of answering Erik instead uses his newly manifested magnetic powers to kill his mother and the soldiers.

18 years ago in a San Francisco University classroom Professor Xavier is using his telepathy to read his students minds while he is giving a lecture. An older Erik Lanhsherr is stading in the back of the class telling Xavier if they can talk. Xavier tries to read Erik's mind but somehow he cannot so he decides to end his lecture early so he can talk to Erik. Outside Erik tells Xavier he read his book and loved it and demonstrates his magnetic powers to show Xavier he is also a mutant. Erik than tells Xavier that he wants Xavier's help in creating a place for mutants to live like Xavier said in his book. Xavier agrees after Erik tells him he has already found a location to start their dream.

16 years ago Erik and Xavier are exploring the Savage Land and go into a cave were other mutants, including Magda, are helping Erik and Xavier create their city. After talking about Weapon X Erik decides to use his magnetic powers to create a huge tower were they decide the city will be located. Then another one of the alien tech appears to record what Erik did.

Highlight of the Issue

"What a show-off"


Again we are presented another origin of a character(s) in the ultimate universe. But unlike in the Ultimate Universe origin of Captain America that wasn't any different from the 616-Marvel Universe Captain America that we got from last issue Bendis gives us a new take on the Magneto and Professor Xavier origins/relationship in Ultimate Origins #3.

I thought it was a good move by Bendis that instead of making Magneto a prisoner in a concentration camp during WWII, Bendis decided to make Magneto's origin more connected to the creation of the mutant race with his parents being involved in the Weapon X program. I know that some hard core X-men fans may be pissed of about the change to Magneto's origin this is the Ultimate Universe and most if not all the Marvel Universe characters should get a new origin so that the reader is not wasting money and time on reading retelling of old stories. If Magneto's origin was still about him being a holocaust survivor that would make Magneto at least in his late-60s to early-70s in age but now we can have a Magneto that isn't over 45 and a much bigger threat since he is not only powerful but relatively young.

By having Magneto's parents being involved in the Weapon X program Magneto has a much closer relationship to all of mutant kind. This also put Magneto in a much more important role in the Ultimate Universe since it looks like Magneto knows much more about the origins of heroes like Captain America, Nick Fury, Spider-Man, and every other hero in the that has been created since WWII. And from the looks of it Magneto is being set up to play a very important role in the upcoming Ultimatum storyline that is suppose to be the 'end' of the Ultimate Universe.

If you read Mark Millar's run on Ultimate X-Men than you know that Magneto and Professor Xavier together created the mutant paradise in the Savage Land and they had a falling out about the next step for mutants should be that led to Professor X being paralyzed. But Bendis was actually able to add layers to the relationship since it is Magneto that conviced Professor X to help lead mutant kind into the future. I kind of wonder what Professor X wrote in his book that made Magneto seek him out since it seemed really important. Also I like that Bendis made so that Magneto does not nead his helmet to block out Professor X telepathy and that it is his magnetic powers that allows him to be ammune to people reading his mind.

Now while the scene between Carol Davers and the Fantastic Four is important I found it to be uninteresting and thought it could have been trimmend down by a page. Also the devices are obviously with The Ultimate Watcher since it is appearing in different place recording current events. I don't understand how important it is to record Wolverine and Peter Parker just lodging around in their respective homes. But I guess since The Watcher is recording these events than they have some importance I just wish we got more information why these Watcher cameras are appearing.

I thought Butch Guice art was great in this issue and that while the art at the start of the issue made it look like some characters faces were a bit to long overall the issue still had a nice look. I especially liked the last scene of the issue were Magneto uses his powers to create the first building in the Savage Land, that scene was just beautiful.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Robin #176 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Joe Bennett
Inker: Jack Jadson
Colorist: Guy Major

Issue Rating
Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

Issue Developments

Robin continues his search for Batman with some help from Spoiler. While Robin beats up some of the Gotham Golden Dragons Spoiler finds and erase a picture of Batman that one of the Golden Dragons took on his cell phone. We also continue to see what Dick and Tim did while waiting for Bruce to exit the cave in Narda Parbat. After checking up with Private Detective Bard and Officer Harper Robin bust into Penguins place for answers. Robin than finds out about Spoiler erasing the picture of Batman and ask her why she did that. Spoiler tells her Batman asked her to so Tim would not worry. Tim gets pissed of and leaves Spoiler and decides to continue guarding Gotham with or without Batman.

Highlight of the Issue

"Some nice brotherly banter"

After only a few weeks from ago we had Robin #175 DC decided to put Robin #176 out before the new issue of Batman RIP. After reading this issue it is understandable why. Nicieza had to wrap up Robin's search for Batman since in the next issue of Batman RIP will most likely not have Spoiler involved. And even though there may have been some errors in continuity Niecieza has to be given credit for what he was able to do with writing these two issues in such a short time with Dixon abrupt departure.

I like that Nicieza had Robin realize that while Gotham may not always have The Batman the city will always have him and those Batman has trained. For me Bruce Wayne is The Batman period. The Batman is not a legacy character like The Flash or Green Lantern. Bruce has trained Dick, Tim, Jason, Barbara, and Cassandra not to take up his mantle but to become their own man/woman who will continue to protect Gotham in their own identity. With everythinng that Tim has been through these past few years Tim now realizes with Bruce's current situation that he may not become Batman but he will continue protecting Gotham with or without Batman. It is going to be interesting what Tim will do especially with Robin being a title that is getting closer to issue #200.

The other thing that I liked about this issue is the relationship between Dick and Tim. The flashback show that even before Tim was adopted by Bruce that Dick and Tim were already acting like brothers. Also unlike when he is with Bruce were Tim has to be serious and act like Batman, Tim has always been able to act more like himself when he is around Dick while still getting the job done. I kind of wish DC would bring back the Bat-Family book to how the bat-characters like Dick, Tim, Barbara, Jason, and Cassandra act around one another when Bruce isn't around.

I thought it was a weird role for Spoiler to be acting as the voice of reason for Tim's current actions. Ever since Spoiler has returned I have really haven't cared much. But since this was only the first storyline were she is involved since her "official" return I will hold on to my opinion of whether her return is a good or bad thing.

Joe Bennett did a good job in illustrating Nicieza story with his art. It was nothing spectacular or bad but got the job done with some nice art.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Invincible Iron Man #4 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Frank D'Armata

Issue Rating
Story: 6/10
Art: 6/10
Overall: 6/10

Issue Developments
After having a chess match with Mister Fantastic starts building some Iron Man armor that he is going to put in the black market to track since Ezekiel Stane is buying all his supplies from the black market. Pepper than comes to Tony's "garage" and tells him to take out she does not want to have the arc reactor in her and would rather go through pain ful surgery because she feels like a bomb.

Later that night Tony and Maria Hill have an argument about Tony supplying the army with the Iron Man armor which Tony will not allow.

The scene shifts to Ezekiel continue to develop his armor because he still has not proper power supply yet. Ezekiel girlfriend than then leaves to buy some supplies Ezekiel needs.

We then see Tony have Ed Gross, a collector of superhero memerobilia, to put the Iron Man Armor into thee black market. As the armor goes through the black market Tony as Iron Man goes to visit the Philippines superhero team The Triumph Division. After finishing a business transaction and stopping an accident in Virginia Tony has a conferance call through his Iron Man suit with the Pentagon updating them with the current situation.

On day 15 of having the Iron Man armor in the black market Tony explains to Pepper her arc reactor is not weapon base and that the supplies were actually from Rand Industries. He then tells Pepper to close her eyes and after a few seconds she opens her eyes to see that she is floating in the air. Before they can continue talking Maria Hill calls Tony to SHIELD war room. Maria tells Tony all the tracer-tech activated in four locations: Los Angeles, Tokyo, Long Island, and Valencia. Tony tells Maria that Ezekiel is trying to take out Stark Industries by taking out the four major Stark Industry locations. End of issue.

Highlight of the Issue "Look ma no hands"

After last three issues were Fraction had a nice balance between character development and action this issue is pure exposition. While it was nice to see how Tony was planting the seeds for catching Ezekiel at the end it just felt that I did not need a whole issue of it. This is not to say I wanted to see an all action comic but I just did not feel this issue supplied enough plot development on Ezekiel side of the story.

All we really know is that Ezekiel still has not perfected his organic armor yet and is missing a succesful power source. After four issue I have to think that this plot development would be further along into the testing stage instead of being still in construction.

I did like that Fraction handled the various interaction between the characters. It was realistic for Pepper to not be all to accepting of her new situation and feeling she is like a weapon instead of a human anymore. It was for Tony to show Pepper that her arc reactor is not meant to be a weapon but to just keep her alive. So while most writers since Civil War like to make Tony out to be a man who is heartless and only does what he wants to do but Fraction shows that Tony does really carefore people especially for those close to him.

I also thought it was funny how Tony handles the various government officials he has to deal with as Director of SHIELD. To Tony all those people in the Pentagon are nothing but pencil pushers who are only out for themselves and that only he nows what is right to do. He pretty much treats them like little kids and much more smarter than them.

Also the arguement with Maria Hill shows that Tony does not trust anyone but himself with his technology and will not let anyone have some of tech. And Maria is just a character the reader just loves to hate.

Outside of these character stuff there really isn't much to this issue and it is only set up for things to come in the next couple issues. So if your someone who loves to see action in their comics this issue may not be all to exciting to you since not much really happens.

Salvador Larroca's wasn't at its best in this issue. While I love how he draws Iron Man the way he draws actual people is just a little weird.. I don't know if it was his colorist or just his art but the characters are to shiny. Also am I the only one that thought Mister Fantastic looked a little to much like Brad Pitt.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Nightwing #147 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Don Kramer
Inker: Jay Leisten
Issue Rating
Story: 9/10
Art: 9/10
Overall: 9/10
Issue Developments
Two Face ask Nightwing for a favor: save one of his former lover Carol Bermingham from when he was still just Harvey Dent who supposebly is a witness to a crime and is being guarded by the Witness Protection Program. Nightwing degrugingly accepts to save Carol but before he leaves Nightwing puches Two-Face in the face.Before he goes to save Carol, Nightwing saves some a couple Two-face was holding for ransome at an ols refinery in case Nightwing didn't accept to save Carol.
Nightwing then saves Carol from some assassins posing as FBI agents and takes her to the court house to give her statement to the court. After the court has ajourned Carol is about to board a helicopter when a sniper starts shoting the agents escorting her. Carol quickly boards the helicopter but as they are in the air the pilot is shot through the head. Luckly for Carol Nightwing was watching the whole time and is able to save Carol with his jet-glider(AKA The Winger). As Nightwing and Carol land on the ground Carol appears to be blending but in reality it is Nightwing who it is bleeding and she is cover with his blood.
Highlights of the Issue

"Nightwing gets his own night-signal"

"Ahh the memories"


Even though Nightwing #147 is suppose to be a tie-in issue to "Batman RIP" don't let it fool you because this is a Nightwing/Two-Face story. The online real tie-in this issue may have to the "Batman RIP" is on the cover and the throw-away line of Nightwing saying that Bruce is busy dealing with Black Glove to monitor Gotham this issue has really nothing to do with Morrison current storyline over in Batman. If your someone who is only looking for issues that directly tie-in to "Batman RIP" than I recommend go get Robin 175-176. But for anyone that is a Nightwing fan this is a must have.

What made Nightwing #147 such a great read is how well Peter Tomasi has been writing Dick Grayson/Nightwing since coming the start of his run. Tomasi gets that Nightwing is just not Batman-lite like he was when he was Robin but he is his own man. How Dick as Nightwing is what Bruce as Batman would be if he did not shut himself off from the world like he does. While Nightwing may not be as feared as Batman, most of the Bat-villains and as well as other villains know that Nightwing is not someone to be taken lightly and just as good as Batman in martial art and detective skills. But for a while now a lot of DC writers like to use Nightwing as a stepping to make some villains a greater threat when they face Batman (cough*Vigalante*cough). Tomasi gets that Dick Grayson is 1/2 Batman and 1/2 James Bond.

I have always liked the relationship Dick has with Two-Face. While Bruce feels slightly responsible for Harvey becoming Two-Face and always tries to bring back Harvey to his "old" self Dick does not share that belief. To Dick he knows that Harvey will never be anything but Two-Face and he will never return to being Harvey Dent public defender. And while he was able to exercise his demon's with Two-Face back back when he was Batman during "The Prodigal Son" arc for Dick Two-Face will always represents his first real failure and defeat as a superhero. Next to Deathstroke Two-Face is probably Dick's greatest enemy and like Deathstroke I hate that more writers don't pick up on this fact and have Dick have more confrontations with Deathstroke or Two Face. I loved that even though Dick may hate Two-Face his heroic nature will not let himself turn his back on someone especially if there is someone life on the line. Also while Dick accepted to do this favor for Two-Face he did not hesistate in knocking Two-Face on his ass before he left.

I like how Tomasi wrote Two-Face in this issue and with The Dark Knight out I have been suprised that no writer has used Two-Face in a Bat-books. Here we have a Two-Face a sympathetic figure and a true villain out for his own greed.I like how Two-Face was able to annoy Nightwing with that night-signal and Two-Face just knows how to get under the skin of Nightwing showing how much history they have with one another. And even though he was asking Nightwing for a favor as Harvey Dent he could not help himself with his Two-Face personality to hold a couple hostage in a refinery ready to kill if Nightwing did not do him this favor.

I am interested to see who was the sniper trying to kill Carol at the end of the issue. If it is not Two-Face it was probably Deadshot but I may be wrong. But it will be interesting to see how a bloodied Nightwing will be able to save the day.

Don Kramer's art was just awsome. Kramer supply plenty of great art for an issue that was mostly action to Tomasi's story. Kramer is one of my favorite Bat-artist and one of my favorite artist in the business. This was an overall well crafted issue both in writting and art.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Final Crisis #3 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Grant Morrison

Artist: JG Jones
Colorist: Alex Sinclair

Issue Rating
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

Issue Developments
The Question (Renee Montoya) confronts and escapes from Frankenstein and his SHADE group while they locate some ancient prophecy. Outside The Question witnesses what looks like an alternate reality Supergirl falls from the sky. A SHADE agent recruits the Question to join their ranks.

We then see The Monitor turned human Nix Uotan being fired from his job and then walking home only to stop outside of a electronics store to see some news about some new discovery in a cave in New York. A mysterious woman is seen standing behind Nix.

Elsewhere Jay Garrick is explaining to all of The Flash family about Barry Allen returning, much to Iris shock, and all three Flash's, himself, Wally, and Barry, trying to stop the bullet that killed Orion. He then tells everyone that he could not keep up with Wally and Barry and that while he ended up with them the next day he does not now were in time Wally or Barry ended up in.

Over at the Hall of Doom Libra makes the Human Flame put on his new helmet that contains The Anti-Life equation and makes him his slave. Lex Luthor then tries to confront Libra but is stopped by Libra's men and Lex is given an ultimatum: become a slave like the Human Flame or pledge his alligance to Libra and Apokolips.

Shifting to Metropolis Memorial Hospital Clark and Jimmy are with an unconscious and severly injured Lois Lane. Jimmy decides to leave for a bit to look for Superman but Clark stays with his wife and whispers that his heat vision is all that is keeping her heart beating. As Clark says he would do anything so that Lois when the mysterious woman that appeared behind Nix appears infront of Clark. She tells Clark she can save Lois only if comes with her.

We then cut to Hal Jordan being taken into custody by the Alpha Lanterns to be prosecuted for his crimes at OA with Wonder Woman, Black Lightning, and Alan Scott can do nothing but watch. Alan then brings up Article X, a superhero draft, and Wonder Woman agrees that is what they have to do since Hal, Bruce, Clark, and Wally are no were to be found in one way or another. Alan then has Oracle gather all the superheroes from the new Aquaman to Captain Marvel to Supergirl and so for gather for the upcoming battle.

In Japan Mister Miracle and Super-Sumo are attacked by Libra's men as they are about to board a plane. They are saved from of the Jappannese superheroes from the superhero bar back in issue #1.

The scene shifts to Bluehaven were Wonder Woman is being escorted through the decimated city by The Atomic Knights when they are attacked by a pink haired leather clothes wearing Mary Marvel. Wonder Woman then have a fight were Wonder Woman dominates until Mary Marvel stabs Wonder Woman with an Anti-Life Equation drug. Mary then tells Wonder Woman that she will be Darkseid's disease carrier.

Over ar at Oracle's location Barbara is sent a computer virus from Darkseid's henchmen Mokkar. The virus than infects all computers around the world and everything goes black.

One month in the future Wally and Barry finally stop running and as Wally is about to question his uncle about what is happening they are confronted by a Darkseid controlled Wonder Woman, Mary Marvel, Giganta, and Catwomen. The controlled Wonder Woman then says "Superheroes. Kill." End of issue.

Highlight of the Issue

"Introducing Darkseid's Femme Fatales"

Final Crisis #3 live up to all the expectations I had for it (that is a good thing). The funny thing about Morrison's Final Crisis is that you'll either say "This was a fantastic issue!" or "What the hell just happened?" If you are someone that has been reading DC books for the past 3+ years and have some knowledge of the Golden and Silver Age of DC than you'll probably say the former. But if your just starting to read DC books and doesn't know what has been going on in the past few years than you'll probably say the latter.

Morrison does not sugar coat Final Crisis with its multiple plotlines developing all at once. He expects that anyone who picks up this series to know what has been going on in the DC Universe for the past few years as well as to know about some of Kirby's New Gods. Even for people like me who has been reading some DC books for about 5 years on a consistent bases still might have to take a visit to Wikipedia to figure out all the characters involved. So if your someone not willing to do some research on DC's past and is just looking for an enjoyable summer blockbuster than save your money and go watch The Dark Knight.

What is interesting about Final Crisis is that it shows both the strengths and weaknesses in Morrison's story telling abilities. The strength for Morrison has always been that it is obvious that he has some great ideas for a story and knows how to give each character in his stories there own external voice. But like over in Batman in the current RIP storyline it seems that at times Morrison gets lost in how to write his story down on paper when it is time to so he may overload an issue with awkward transitions between scences. But again this is something that just comes in when reading a Grant Morrison comic.

One of the great things that Morrison has been able to do in this issue and in the past two issues is how he has systamatically taken out all of DC's heavy hitters from play. The first issue we saw Martian Manhunter killed by Libra, even though Morrison made him go down like a punk Tomasi showed J'onn as the hero he truly as in Final Crisis: Requiem. In the second issue Green Lantern John Stewart was taken out by an unseen Green Lantern and Batman was taken out by Alpha Lantern Krakken and then imprissoned somewhere in Bluehaven. Then in this issue Superman was taken out because he would not leave Lois side and looks like he is going into the future setting up the Legion of Three Worlds mini. Also both Flash's Wally and Barry were travelling through time in the Speed Force ending up a month into the future. And finally Green Lantern is taken to OA to be impressioned and Wonder Woman was infected by the Anti-Life equation becoming Darkseid's slave.

These are probably the most powerful characters in the DC Universe and now the world is without them. Morrison has really stacked the deck against the heroes now that they face Darkseid and his inslaved heroes turned villains. It makes me wonder which superheroes are actually left in the world that are not inslaved by Darkseid in the one month future Wally and Barry are in.

The hardest thing to do in these big events is what to do with Superman because he is the most powerful hero in the universe and could stop these events from happening in a heartbeat. It was a great move by Morrison in how he took out Superman from the picture. Most writers usually try to take away some if not all of Superman's power with kryptonite or something else. But here Morrison weakens Superman emotionally and not physically by having him stay by Lois bedside or else she may die. And from the looks of it the woman that appeared to him to save Lois most likely has something to do with the Legion of Superheroes and Superman is probably still in the future when Darkseid took over the world.

Now while it was obvious that Libra was working for Darkseid but it is this issue were I felt Libra is a threat on his own. The ultimatum that he gave Lex Luthor was awsome because even though Lex was pissed off someone other than him took out Superman he almost seemed powerless to do anything. But I have to wonder since we still have not officially seen Darkseid yet in this series if Libra, if he isn't Darkseid himself, has other plans in mind for his own gain.

Now even though Article X seems to familiar to the concept of Civil War over at Marvel I still love the idea of a superhero draft in the DC Universe being inacted at the Earth's time of need. I actually thought it was interesting that Alan Scott became the leader of this superhero army since I always felt Alan Scott to be a grandfaher figure to many DC heores who the heroes will listen to.

But while I was excited to see this superhero draft being inacted it seemed Morrison just through the scene in and never followed up on it. In one scene we see all of the superheroes gather and then nothing. What we get is Wonder Woman on her own going to Bluehaven without some sort of backup. It made the scene feel like nothing but filler but hopefully Morrison will pick up on this thread in the next issue since we saw the Appocalyptic future. Morrison will probably have Wally and Barry be saved by the superheroes still not in Darkseid's control.

And speaking of the Flash's how awsome was it seen Barry back and next to Wally. Next to the Bat-family the only other real family in superheroes that do feel like a family is the Flash-family. Seeing Jay tell all his, Wally, and Barry's family about what happend shows how close the Flash's are. Seeing Iris break down and cry when finding out Barry was back was really an emotional moment for her and illustrated nicely by the art. And now with both Wally and Barry together in the future it will be interesting how much Morrison will flesh out their interactions.

One of the complaints I have about this issue is that I could care less about what happens with the Mister Miracle and his Japannese heroes. Right now I still don't see the point of them being in the story and how it will fit into the story especially with the one month time skip. Also am I the only one wondering why Mister Miracle is now black since from all I know the Mister Miracle I know was the only one of the New Gods yet to be dead.

The other problem I had with this issue is the massacar and rape to the Mary Marvel character that DC has done to Mary. I know that over in Countdown she turned evil because of she got Black Adams powers but Morrison has said he is avoiding Countdown altogether. The only reason to have Mary become evil is because she has basically become the Superboy-Prime of Final Crisis. And seeing Mary with pink hair and in a leather bondage costume is just unnatural and just seems to forced because Morrison needed someone to fill in for a Superboy-Prime type character. Hopefully the new Captain Marvel Freddy Freeman can bring back Mary Marvel to the right course again.

J.G. Jones art was as good as always. His art fits the story Morrison is telling while living up to the stadards for the art that comes with big events like Final Crisis. The evil Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Giganta, and Mary Marvel(from the last page) was just beautiful. It will be interesting to see how Jones art will be when Carlos Pacheco joins him to help out with the art chores.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Teen Titans #61 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Sean McKeever
Artist: Carlos Rodriguez
Inker: Mark McKenna
Colorist: Rob Reis

Issue Rating
Story: 5/10
Art: 7/10
Overall: 6/10

Issue Developments
In the aftermath of "The Terror Titans" battle Kid Devil starts to search for Shockwave for some payback. With some advice from Robin Kid Devil is able to locate Shockwave at Albuquerque, New Mexico. Once Kid Devil gets to Albuquerque Kid Devil finds Blue Beetle already fighting Shockwave. After allowing Shockwave to escape and arguing with one another Blue Beetle and Kid Devil figure out (well Blue Beetle does anyways) that Shockwave is attacking companies formally owned by Kord Industries. They decide to split up and go to the next closest companies formally owned by KI. Blue Beetle is able to find him in Denver and Kid Devil is able to teleport using a portal created by his tail from Salt Lake City to Denver. Once Kid Devil gets there both Blue Beetle and him team up and take down Shockwave. The issue ends at Titans Tower Robin introduces two "new" members to the team, Blue Beetle and Red Devil.

This issue was really underwhelming especially coming off of how great The Terror Titans arc was. This issue was purelly a filler issue that the only major development was that Blue Beetle officially became a Teen Titan and Kid Devil switches his name to Red Devil. Both developments were not very interesting.

Before I go into a rant about what was bad about this issue let me mention some of the good developments about this issue. McKeever writting for each character wasn't to bad and he with each of them having there own external voices. Also I continue to be interested about what McKeever is going to do with Miss Martian/Whit Martian development. It is obvious that when Miss Martian situation gets out of control it will lead to some bad stuff for the Titans.

The art for this issue wasn't bad. Rodriguez art got the job done and drew a nice Blue Beetle and Shockwave.

Now to the meat(bad) of the issue.

First of all I already thought Blue Beetle was a member of the team since he has been working with the team since McKeever has been writting this title. Overall I am indifferent about this new Blue Beetle since I do think Jamie has some good lines but also feel his character is a little to forced upon the reader. For me I much rather have Ted Kord back as Blue Beetle and hearing about Kord Industries only makes me wish that Kord would come back. Also I know that I am not the only one, especially as a hispanic myself, that feel Jamie Reyes is Blue Beetle so that DC could have one hispanic hero. It is really cheap and uncreative to get a minority character in comics by killing an already established and well liked hero and having the new minority character take over that name.

In the other development of the issue I could really care less about Kid Devil's name change since I find him uninteresting and annoying. I know Kid Devil, or Red Devil know, was crushed about Ravager leaving but he should just man up and actually tell someone what is bothering him at least. Throughout this issue Red Devil acted really childish and just was not the type of spotlight issue that gives me a reason to actually like Red Devil.

Speaking about Ravager having already left the team took some of the punch to this title. During her time in the Titans she actually was my favorite character in this title. Her leaving changes the team dynamic since I thought that the last issue she shined by saving all of the Titans lives. Hopefully she'll come back after the Terror Titans mini-series that is supposed to start soon.

Also with Ravager having already left it just adds to what was a shirking line-up of the Teen Titans. I kind of wonder were McKeever is taking this since the Titans need some more members to seem like a more team to be mest with. Right now as the team is now they are not very intimadating and could be taken out really easily. The Teen Titans need a real heavy hitter because Wonder Girl doesn't cut it as a power hitter especially since she is having problems with her powers.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Ultimate Spider-Man #124

Creative Team
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

Issue Rating
Story: 8/10
Art: 7.5/10
Overall: 7.75/10

Story Developments
Continueing from the last issue Silver Sable and her gang continue their attack of Venom at the ESU Museum of Art.

Then we get another full page spread of the Spider-man vs Rhino fight with Eddie Brock watching in an alley from a "month" ago.

The day after the Spider-man vs Rhino over at Midtown High MJ tells Peter that TMZ has a shot of Peter's butt showing through a rip in his Spider-man costume. MJ then tells Peter he should go to a doctor with Peter saying he'll think about it.

Later that night, Peter in his Spider-man costume is swinging home from work when he notices someone flying right by him. when he goes to check to see who is flying through the city he sees that its The Beetle. As Spider-man is trying to talk The Beetle tries to lose Spidey by flying faster and shoting some sort of heat seeking energy blast at him. As Spidey is almost able to web The Beetle, The Beetle shots another energy blast at Spidey to lose him.

The Beetle than heads to Roxxon Industry. As Spider-man catches up to him, The Beetle somehow vibrates his body through the building. The Beetle than heads to Roxxon's science lab and grabs a vile of what looks to be some of the Venom Symbiote from a safe. As he is about to leave Spider-man shows up again rescueing a security guard in the process. As Spider-man and The Beetle fight The Beetle is able fire some sort plasma blast and makes his escape from the Roxxon building.

The next day Peter is on the phone with MJ while working at the Daily Bugle. Just then Peter gets a call from Nick Fury to meet him on the roof of the Daily Bugle. Just as Peter storms up to the roof to tell Fury off Fury tells Peter to not get involve with The Beetle anymore since The Beetle works for someone in Latvaria that is not Doctor Doom. As Peter angrily agrees and goes back to work a SHIELD agent ask Fury if he believes that Peter confront The Beetle the next time he sees him and Fury answers "Yep."

Going back to the museum Silver Sable and her gang finally subdue Eddie and take him away. As Silver Sable is leaving with Eddie she tells Spider-man to "see a doctor" and drives off.

Ultimate Spider-man #124 is another strong read for USM. Ever since the Clone Saga Ultimate Spider-man has returned to form and proves to be a consistently well written comic. Even though before the Clone Saga USM wasn't bad but was just average for about a year and a half because the focus of this book was on Spider-man and not Peter Parker. But this book is at its strongest when the focus is on Peter Parker and not Spider-man and since the Clone Saga Bendis has returned to focus on Peter's life outside of Spider-man.

I know that this "War of the Symbyote" storyline is suppose to adapt the Ultimate Spider-man video game but for someone like me that did not play the game this and the last issue is still very accessible.

I have to say that The Beetle is a great addition to Ultimate Spider-man's rogue gallery. What makes him a great addition is that The Beetle doesn't even bother to talk to Spider-man's banter and is only looking to complete his mission. It made for some funny lines by Spider-man since he loves talking during his fights and who ever he is fighting will talk back by telling him to shut up or something. But with The Beetle this guy could care less of Spider-man and just wanted to get his job done.

Also speaking of what The Beetle was after it seems as though he was after part of the Venom Symbyote that Roxxon Industries kept from Peter and Eddie's parents when they work for the company. While The Beetle may not appear for the rest of the story arc since this is a Venom/Carnage centric arc but I am fine with that since The Beetle is working for someone in Latveria that is not Doctor Doom. So this Beetle subplot may lead to a future story arc were Spider-man teams up with the Fantastic Four to fight Doctor Doom and this unknown benefactor of The Beetle. Since I have always loved it when Spider-man and the Fantastic Four team up hopefully Bendis is leading to this since Peter is much closer to the F4 in the Ultimate Universe.

The other highlight of the issue was the Peter and Fury conversation. I just loved how Fury doesn't give crap if were Peter is or were their meeting will be cause when Fury needs something he'll usually get it. I always like it that Bendis always portrays the Ultimate Universe Nick Fury as being the typical government agent we see in the real world. And Peter being uncomfortable with the whole conversation and were it takes place only added to the scene. I also loved that even though Fury told Peter to stay away from The Beetle Fury knows that Peter won't stay away and he will use that to his advantage.

Also talking about Fury one problem I have with this story arc is when this story arc takes place. It is obvious that this takes place before Ultimate Power mini series and after the Silver Sable arc in USM. If I had to guess with Peter and MJ only being friends and talking about Peter's health I would guess it id right after the Morbius arc were he was bitten by a vampire and right before the Clone Saga. But it is only a minor gripe I have about the issue.

The only other problem I had with this issue is that there was only two pages were we saw Venom/Silver Sable story from the last issue. The reason is because this story arc is called "The War of the Symbyote" and when Venom only appears for two pages it might make this story feel like it is taking forever to finish. But I am guessing Bendis will pick up the Symbyote story next issue and this is again only a minor gripe I hae with this issue.

Again Stuart Immonen art is just not my style. I find that his Peter Parker and the people not wearing costumes not to be as good as when Bagley drew USM. This is a problem because USM and the way Bendis writes this title it is more about Peter's life outside of Spider-man that makes me buy this title. But the art in this issue was actually a bit above average since this issue was mostly the Spider-man vs The Beetle fight and his The Beetle was actually a cool design and much better than the 616-MU The Beetle.